Detroit: Summer of 1999

08/30/11 The city of Detroit is a wreck and it has been that way for a long time. I took these photos on my first visit to the city – for a Tigers game – in July 1999 and was truly shocked by the level of destruction. It looked like post-war Berlin. Driving down the main thoroughfares I saw building after building – banks, stores, apartment houses – burnt out with every window broken, one right after another for miles.

It’s a human tragedy on an epic scale and the sight of this 20th century Pompeii is simply irresistible to photographers. “Detroit Disassembled: Photographs by Andrew Moore” just opened on Sunday at the Queens Museum of Art. The New York Times reports that there have been 3 books of photographs on the physical collapse of the city published in the last year. The backlash has been complaints from locals decrying a voyeuristic “ruin porn.”

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